Elephants are truly magnificent creatures. They are intuitive, sensitive and loving. However, they are quite a nuisance for African farmers. Consequently, growers have tried many types of deterrents over the years. Techniques have included bright flashlights, car horns and fire crackers. Unfortunately, these are all very labor intensive.
Farmers have also tried less intensive techniques, such as geo-fencing, electric fencing and stone walls, but they have proven cost prohibited. Finally, biologists have now come up with a successful alternative: beehive fences.
The Elephants and Bees Project was started with the goal to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants and exploit the elephant’s natural aversion to bees. Elephants’ thick skin is impenetrable to the honeybee sting. However, their inner trucks are especially vulnerable and sensitive. Farmers depend on African honeybees to pollinate their crops. Therefore, biologists have utilized the elephant/bee relationship in order to help poverty-stricken farmers protect their crops, and create profit from the sustainably harvested honey.
Construction of Beehive Fences
In Africa, bees are regularly integrated into most farms for pollination. So, in many cases, it is just a matter of reorganizing the existing hives to create the beehive fences.
Researchers have found that one hive placed every 20-30 feet, depending on the type of hive, is sufficient to create a barrier. A thin wire placed between the hives is triggered when the elephants cross the perimeter. The wire then disrupts the hive, and the bees swarm the elephants. Thankfully, quite often the passive sounds of the hives are enough to deter the elephants without actually triggering the wire itself.
Initially the fences were tested in communities surrounding Kenya. As a result of their great success, Botswana, Gabon, Chad, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are all now home to successful fence projects. You can offer financial support to The Elephant and Bees Project by clicking here.
This article (Beehive Fences Redirect Elephants Away from African Farms) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017. Furthermore, you may not copy, reproduce, publish or distribute any content therein without written permission. You may contact us here.